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Georgia football recruiting sees the pros and cons of ‘RBU’
Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
That’s probably what it felt like on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning for Georgia fans who were dealing with the decision of 4-star running back Marshawn Lloyd.
The nation’s No. 28 overall prospect was a long-time Georgia target for the 2020 recruiting class. But on Monday, the No. 6 running back in the 2020 recruiting cycle made the decision to commit to South Carolina. The timing of the announcement was pretty stunning to all in the recruiting world, but it wasn’t a total surprise to see Lloyd pick the Gamecocks.
For some, Lloyd’s decision was just the latest made by an elite running back to spurn Georgia. In the 2019 cycle, 5-star running backs John Emery Jr. and Trey Sanders both seriously considered signing with Georgia, before ultimately picking LSU and Alabama, respectively.
A common theme into why all three ended up going away from Georgia is just the competition. Georgia is more than set at the position for this year, with D’Andre Swift, Brian Herrien, Zamir White and James Cook all returning. Kenny McIntosh — a 4-star running back in the 2019 class — also figures to factor into the future of the Georgia backfield.
Given that Georgia is “RBU,” it’s going to be hard to convince some running backs to come and play for Georgia, given that there’s already so much talent here. Factor that Georgia is trying to land multiple running backs in the class in the event that Georgia loses Swift to the 2020 NFL Draft, it won’t be easy to convince elite prospect to come play in Athens.
Unlike defensive back, linebacker or wide receiver, only one running back can really shine on any given play. And while Georgia’s done a good job of splitting carries between running backs, there are only so many carries to be split.
When you remember that multiple 2020 Georgia commits are very publicly recruiting 5-star running back Kendall Milton, it’s very easy to see why Lloyd would pull the trigger and commit elsewhere.
Having said all that, Georgia fans got some much better news on Tuesday evening from the nation’s No. 1 overall player and running back in the country.
Zachary Evans announced his top-5 schools. Texas and Texas A&M — long thought to be the top contenders for Houston running back — were not listed among the finalists. But the Georgia Bulldogs were.
— T H R E E (@Runzekerun01) May 28, 2019
Georgia, along with Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and Ohio State, all made the final five for Evans. Four of those five schools were also the same finalists for Milton. Each of those schools has had at least one running back taken in the top 50 picks of the last five NFL drafts. Texas and Texas A&M have not.
Sure competition is going to keep some very good running backs from coming to play for Georgia. The lack of an elite running back at certain schools no doubt made it easier for Lloyd to commit to South Carolina and Emery to sign with LSU.
But there are also going to be a handful of elite prospects who aren’t going to care about the other running backs are on the roster. They know that Georgia is a place where a running back can come in, compete for carries and national championships and then get taken in early in the NFL draft.
Georgia isn’t going to land every elite running back. Some running backs really value early playing time and it’s to knock them for that. Other running backs — like say Nick Chubb and Sony Michel — see what’s in front of them and aren’t phased by it. Those types of running backs know that you don’t need 600 carries entering the NFL to show to teams what you can do.
As Robert Baratheon, Robb Stark, and Jon Snow all showed On Game of Thrones, being the king isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Georgia isn’t going to have an easy recruitment of any elite running back.
But those select few running backs that do spurn the other elite programs and decide to come play for Georgia, are going to be all the better off in the long run for coming to play for the real ‘RBU.’
Nicolas Claxton elects to stay in the 2019 NBA Draft
Nicolas Claxton made the decision to stay in the 2019 NBA Draft on Tuesday. And while some think he could’ve been a lottery pick if he had returned to Georgia, Claxton made the right decision.
— Clax (@_claxton33) May 29, 2019
After a strong performance at this year’s NBA draft combine, Claxton had clearly put himself on the right side of the first round bubble.
Being taken in the top 30 picks of NBA draft means a guaranteed contract. And that’s something Claxton can’t pass up, even if he isn’t a finished product just yet.
There are a number of teams picking at the end of the first round — like the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs — that could draft Claxton and take time to develop him.
DawgNation’s Chip Towers caught up with Claxton after he made his announcement public.
“It definitely wasn’t an easy decision, especially with the situation of all the new guys coming in,” Claxton said. “I really wanted to play with those new guys. And I didn’t have a lot of closure from this past year. It feels like the season just ended, and I really didn’t know when I was going (leave for the NBA). But after testing the waters and getting the feedback I got, I feel like I made the right decision. And I’ll be able to go back and get my degree later on.”
Should Claxton get drafted, he would become the first Bulldog taken in the NBA draft since Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was drafted in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft.
As for what comes next for Georgia basketball, a heavier burden will fall on incoming freshman Anthony Edwards. The 5-star prospect is the No. 2 overall player in the 2019 recruiting cycle and has tons of talent. But the recent track record of freshmen leading teams to the NCAA tournament is not a good one. Top picks like Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons both missed the NCAA tournament during their freshman seasons.
Georgia does bring back a number of contributors from last year’s team, such as guard Jordan Harris. And the Bulldogs landed four other top-100 recruits, along with graduate transfer guard Donnell Gresham Jr.
Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
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- Kirby Smart gives cryptic answer on potentially moving Georgia-Florida from Jacksonville
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- Dan Mullen non-committal about future of Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Baseball (@BaseballUGA) May 27, 2019
Trent Phillips fired a 4-under 68 on Monday and is in good position for a top-10 finish at #NCAAGolf. We will update his standing once all of the players are off the course. 🐶🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/htRz0RcCcy
— Georgia Golf (@UGAGolf) May 27, 2019
— UGA Spike Squad (@UGASPIKESQUAD) May 28, 2019
— blakejmorgan (@bIakejmorgan) May 29, 2019
Good Dawg of the Day
Beagle Explosion! pic.twitter.com/YpWzgqebQF
— Good doggos (@DoggoDating) May 28, 2019